Led by Serbian metallurgist and drum designer Vukan Karadzic, boutique drum manufacturer Oriollo has been producing seamless metal drum shells for various drum manufacturers since 2003.
After creating its first ever complete snare drum last year, the lesser-known company now appears to be going full steam ahead, manufacturing and promoting its unique products to the world with the help of new UK distributor, Bettadrums.
Oriollo currently produces four different varieties of drum shell; all metal, and all seamlessly hand-crafted in its Serbian workshop.
The seamless nature of the shell is designed to enable maximum resonance from the drum. The proprietary 1.2mm Metz shells are spun and drawn from a single sheet of aluminium, and are then used as the starting point for each Phantom series snare.
Other spun shell options are 1.5mm manganese steel and copper. Oriollo's remaining three shell types are made up of the Casablanca, the Dardanelli and the Belgrade. These are all centrifugally cast and machined using Oriollo's own concoctions of steel, bronze and bell bronze alloy respectively. Oriollo will also deal with custom orders for its cast shells and even offers custom alloys.
The spun shells of the 14" Phantom snares, though, are currently only available in 41⁄2", 51⁄2" and 61⁄2" depths. For review we have received the two deeper models of the three, sporting the rather eye-catching Graffiti finish.
The aluminium shells are also available in a seemingly ever-expanding range of finishes, which include the Elite Anthracite and the simply named Clear, reminiscent of the Ludwig Acrolite. Information wasn't forthcoming on exactly how the Graffiti coating is created, so we cannot tell you an awful lot about it. We can, however, tell you that there is a slightly textured feel to the shell (most likely that of the brushed aluminium) and that the surface has a matte finish.
The result is a really funky, multi-coloured tie-dye effect covering the whole shell. Amazingly, it is possible to customise your own finish by choosing a base colour and then two additional colours. Vukan will even colour match to an existing kit if required.
Being the metal specialist that it is, Oriollo has recently started producing its own shell hardware, including hoops, snare strainer, snare wires, lugs and badges. As this is a new development, only the lugs, badges and strainer of the review drums have been made in-house. The other elements such as the hoops and wires are generic.
As you may imagine, the thin aluminium drums are extremely lightweight. That said, and dated to show it has been quality approved by the head honcho himself.
Upon lifting the blue graffiti model out of its box, there was a definite outburst of "Wow!", or at least something to that effect. The finish is just so amazingly quirky it screams individuality. Reinforced by the fact that no two snares will ever be quite the same, this is undoubtedly a major selling point.
Thankfully, it's not the only one. Both drums have a fair range of tuning and, as a result, work well tuned low down for a wider backbeat, up into medium tension for open sounds that work really well in blues and country styles particularly, and then tuned up high for a funky snap.
The 51⁄2" model inevitably handled the higher tunings better and dished out the most lethal, tight pop when struck across the rim. Ghost notes were also very crisp, aided not only by the sensitive snare wires but also the thin and highly resonant 1.2mm aluminium shell.
The 61⁄2" model was not quite so easy to get the desired sound out of and was certainly my least favourite of the two. Tuning was a little tricky and the overtones were frankly unruly at times.
The Phantoms are reasonably versatile snare drums but work best where warm characteristics are required. We'd love to get our hands on the shallower 41⁄2" model to see what it can do. Keep your eyes peeled for more Oriollo as a full seamless metal kit is in the pipeline and an outrageous 16" snare drum has just been released.